(Rick Hickman/American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, August 25, 2014 10:26 AM
South Cameron High head coach Mark Delaney has an interesting situation on his hands for the upcoming season.
Then again, things are rarely “normal” for the Tarpons football program anymore.
About half of South Cameron’s returning team are starters from a team that went 2-9. The bad news is that Delaney only as about 20 players at his disposal for the upcoming season, nine of them returning starters.
It makes things difficult for the coach in determining who plays where.
“It’s hard to settle when you’ve only got 20 players,” he explained. “There isn’t a lot of hitting going on because of our numbers. I’m moving some guys around that played defensive line last year that may have to play a skill position this year.”
Delaney said he’s optimistic about sophomore Eric Stelly, a two-year returning starter on the defensive line.
“He’s our best player,” he said.
With so few players ball control will be important for the Tarpons.
“We’ve got to learn to control the ball on offense,” he said. “All my guys are going both ways. We’re going to have to play some guys who haven’t played on the varsity level because of our numbers.
“The biggest thing is controlling the ball and trying to stay as fresh as we can.”
Things figure to be more optimistic at Merryville, where coach Danny Cain returns 12 starters, led by first-team All-District 4-1A and All-Southwest Louisiana first-team small school linebacker Kyle Branett.
Branett will be expected to add leadership on the defense, where the Panthers have questions along the front four.
“He’s had a great offseason,” Cain said. “He’s ready to get started and we’re looking for a lot from him as an extra coach on the field this year.”
In addition to Branett, the Panthers bring back a variety of offensive weapons from last year’s spread attack, including second-team all-district receivers Ryan Bailey, Skyler Stapleton and running back Reggie Noble to help along new starting quarterback Seth Powell.